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WORLD YOUTH DAY 2011

The Knights and the Sisters of Life prepare English-language pilgrim site in Madrid

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of pilgrims representing countries throughout the world have registered for the 26th World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain. From Aug. 16-21, the Knights of Columbus will be a significant part of the event’s excitement as a co-host of a major center for English-speaking pilgrims. With the Sisters of Life, the Order will be sponsoring and hosting the Love and Life Center: A Home for English Speaking Pilgrims at the Palacio de Deportes, a 15,000-seat sports stadium in Madrid. A number of organizations will also assist as co-sponsors, including Holy Cross Family Ministries, the Apostleship of Prayer, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, and Salt + Light Television. “We are honored to be involved in creating a home for English-speaking pilgrims at World Youth Day together with our co-hosts, the Sisters of Life, and our many cosponsors,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “This will be an event filled with graces for many people, and we very much look forward to an unforgettable week and a spectacular outpouring of faith.” The center will be home to Catholic speakers, catechetical programs, musical performances, discussions and other activities throughout the week. “The various talks, exhibits and concerts will engage the questions of the human heart: the longing for freedom, friendship, love, healing and true communion with God,” said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan of the Sisters of Life. “There will also be many opportunities for prayer so that pilgrims can personally encounter the Lord.” The official theme of the 26th World Youth Day is, “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7). In his message for the event, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the need for Europe to rediscover its Christian roots, adding, “I would like all young people … to share this experience, which can prove decisive for their lives. It is an experience of the Lord Jesus, risen and alive, and of his love for each of us.”

At the conclusion the closing Mass at World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia, Spanish pilgrims celebrate Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that Madrid will host the next international World Youth Day. Even older Catholics and people who cannot attend the event in Madrid can participate. Knights are encouraged to sponsor their children, grandchildren or young people in their community as pilgrims, and to pray with and for the pilgrims and organizers as they prepare for the event. To this end, Holy Cross Family Ministries is organizing a World Youth Day rosary campaign titled “Firm in Faith with Mary,” which is scheduled to launch May 1. World Youth Day was first instituted by Pope John Paul II following the success of international gatherings of young people in Rome in 1984 and 1985. While it is celebrated on the diocesan level each year on Palm Sunday, it has included major international celebrations every two to three years, beginning with Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1987. The Knights of Columbus has been present at every international World Youth Day celebration since John Paul II came to Denver in 1993. At that time, Knights provided support in various ways, volunteering and distributing thousands of rosaries, water bottles and Catholic resource pamphlets to pilgrims. In Toronto in 2002, the Order was represented by a delegation of college Knights — as it had been in Paris (1997) and Rome (2000) — and funded the vocations pavilion and Duc in Altum

park, where thousands of pilgrims received the sacrament of reconciliation. When the last international World Youth Day took place in Sydney, Australia, in 2008, the Knights collaborated with the Sisters of Life and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family to host the Love and Life Site on the campus of a local university. Together with the Sisters of Life, more than 30 college Knights welcomed approximately 12,000 pilgrims to the catechetical site, which featured talks and performances celebrating the Church’s teachings about life and love. The success of that collaboration prompted plans to host the premiere English-language site for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. “It is our desire to create a dynamic atmosphere into which young pilgrims can enter and experience the hope and joy that come from knowing Christ and from belonging to God’s family, the Church,” said Mother Agnes. “We pray that this endeavor will help to promote a genuine civilization of life and love throughout the world.” A soon-to-be-launched Knights of Columbus/World Youth Day website will include more details on the Order’s involvement and the event itself. Watch kofc.org for more details.♦ APRIL 2011

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